Saudi-backed Deobandi militants kill 9 Russian and Chinese tourists and their Shia guide in Chilas – by Mahpara Qalandar
In the wee hours of 22 June 2013, a repetition of the three acts of Shia killings in the Gilgit-Baltistan province last year was staged.
In three separate incidents last year (2012), the Al Qaeda affiliated Laskar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) Deobandi Wahhabi terrorists wearing army uniform stopped buses bound for Gilgit and Skardu, identified the Shia Muslims through their identity cards and the manner of reciting certain prayers, and shot all of them—over one hundred of them—leaving non-Shias unharmed (read the report here:http://dawn.com/news/1020142/
But in the early hours of 22 June 2013, the LeJ Deobandi terrorists added a new dimension to the ongoing Shia genocide in Pakistan. Wearing army uniforms, the LeJ terrorists (which openly operate in Pakistan with their new name Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat ASWJ) sneaked into a hotel near the remote base camp of the Nanga Parbat, known as the Killer Mountain, taking everyone hostage. This happened in Diamer Chilas area of Gilgit Baltistan. There were six tourists from Russia and Ukraine and three from China. With them there was a Pakistani Shia. The very first thing the Deobandi terrorists, according to the journalist Rana Jawad from Islamabad, did was to identify the sect of the Pakistanis working in the hotel. Finding that there was only one Shia along with non-Muslim foreigners, they immediately went into action shooting all of them in the head. After shooting the tourists and the one Shia, the terrorists took their money and passports and left.
This is today’s Pakistan ruled by Saudi-backed Wahhabi leader Nawaz Sharif who has refused to take any action against the Taliban (and their Punjabi incarnation, the LeJ). He wants to have a dialogue with them even though they have not only refused to respond positively to the offer, they have recently escalated their campaign against the Shias and the Ahmadis. But it not just the Sharif government which rules the central government as well as the Punjab, Pakistan’s largest provincial. The Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa (KP) government led by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) is also head over heal in love with sitting one-on-one with the Taliban.
Only two days ago, on Friday, 20 June 2013, the LeJ Deobandi terrorists staged a suicide bombing in a Shia mosque in Peshawar killing sixteen worshippers and injuring scores. The provincial government (led by Imran Khan’s PTI) reacted characteristically: the information minister of the government said, “It was just a bomb blast and not the end of the world!” No official investigation was launched into the suicide bombing incident.
Since Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and the Imran Khan’s PTI have taken over, there has been a sudden surge of bloody attackers on the Shias and other non-Wahhabi non-Deobandi Pakistanis.
Only two weeks before, the LeJ staged a suicide bombing in the bus carrying female students in Quetta. Twenty-two students died, which included both Sunni and Shia. When the dead and the injured were taken to the hospital near the site of the bombing, terrorists invaded it and shouted the following instruction: “All the Sunnis should leave. We will kill the Shias!” After ten hours of gunfire exchange of the police, the terrorists were killed. Again, no official investigation was instituted.
Nawaz Sharif has condemned the shooting of the foreign tourists. Interestingly, he did not include a reference to the Pakistani Shia killed nor he cared to mention the identity of ASWJ-LeJ Deobandi terrorists. In a day or two this will be forgotten despite an ‘investigation’ which will be carried out by way of a show-off to satisfy the foreign governments. When the governments of the PML-N and the PTI believe that the Taliban and their various incarnations are good people who have turned bad only because of the American intervention in Afghanistan, terrorism will continue to grow. The Shias and other non-Deobandi-Wahhabi communities will continue to be killed and all those who happened to be close to them, like the innocent tourists, will be vulnerable.
Gunmen have killed 10 people, including nine foreign tourists after storming a hotel in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Initial reports say five are from Ukraine, one from Russia and three from China. A Pakistani is also said to have been shot.
The attack happened near the base camp of Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth highest mountain, in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Pakistani agencies are so active and influential in GB that they can find out things we say or do in our homes. If three people are sitting somewhere and making a conversation, then agencies come to know about the contents of the conversation the next day. So finding, arresting and punishing the killers of Shias, minorities and now foreigners should not be a difficult thing unless they have no desire to find out.
Gunmen kill nine foreign tourists and their guide in northern Pakistan
By Jibran Ahmed
PESHAWAR, Pakistan | Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:08am EDT
(Reuters) – Gunmen stormed a mountaineering base camp in northern Pakistan on Sunday and shot dead nine foreign trekkers and a Pakistani guide as they rested during an arduous climb up one of the world’s tallest peaks, police said.
The night-time raid – which killed five Ukrainians, three Chinese and a Russian – was among the worst attacks on foreigners in Pakistan in a decade and underscored the growing reach of militants in a highland region once considered secure.
Police said a 15-strong team of attackers wearing uniforms used by a local paramilitary force arrived at about 1 a.m. at a group of tents and ramshackle huts used by hikers scaling the flanks of the snow-covered 8,125-metre Nanga Parbat peak.
As the killing spree began, the intruders shot dead a Pakistani guard with the tourists and held other workers at gunpoint, a senior official from the northern Gilgit-Baltistan province said. A Chinese climber managed to escape.
“The gunmen held the staff hostage and then started killing foreign tourists and made their escape,” the official said.
It was the first time foreign tourists had been attacked in the province, where the convergence of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalayan ranges has created a stunning landscape explored by only a trickle of the most intrepid mountaineers.
Pakistan’s Taliban movement and a smaller militant group both claimed responsibility.
The shootings, which followed several deadly bombings in different parts of Pakistan in the past week, pose a fresh challenge for the new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is battling accusations that his calls for dialogue with insurgents amount to appeasing violent extremists.
The deaths of the Chinese are a particular blow for Pakistan, which hosted Chinese Prime Minister Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last month in a bid to boost trade ties with the Asian giant via their shared border in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told parliament he had sacked Gilgit-Baltistan’s police chief and another senior provincial official, an unusual step in Pakistan where senior officials are rarely held accountable for lapses in security.
The move did little to silence questions from critics who asked how gunmen could have slipped past security forces at check points meant to scrutinize visitors to the sensitive mountain region bordering the disputed territory of Kashmir.
There were conflicting claims of responsibility for the attack. A Pakistani militant group known as Jundullah, with a track record of attacks in the Gilgit-Baltistan province, was the first to say it was behind the raid.
“These foreigners are our enemies and we proudly claim responsibility for killing them, and will continue such attacks in the future,” Jundullah spokesman Ahmed Marwat told Reuters by telephone.
The same group has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in northern Pakistan in recent years, mostly on members of Pakistan’s Shi’ite Muslim minority, known as Shias.
Later, Pakistan’s Taliban movement, which has its centre of gravity closer to the Afghan border, said it had shot the trekkers in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike in May that killed its second in command, Wali-ur-Rehman.
“We wanted to seek revenge for the killing of our leader in the drone attack,” said Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan. “Our attacks on foreigners will continue to protest drone strikes.”
It was not immediately possible to reconcile the competing claims. Jundullah and the much larger Pakistani Taliban are among loosely aligned militant groups that frequently share personnel, tactics and agendas. Claims for specific incidents are often hard to verify.
Recent attacks by Pakistani militant groups have tended to focus on security forces and religious minorities, particularly Shi’ites, but foreigners have also been targets in the past.
In 2002, 11 French engineers and technicians working on the construction of submarines for the Pakistan navy were killed along with three Pakistanis in a suicide bombing outside a hotel in the port city of Karachi. In 2009, gunmen attacked the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team in the eastern city of Lahore.
The latest killings followed an attack last weekend in the southwestern city of Quetta, when a suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying women students before gunmen stormed the hospital treating survivors. More than 20 people were killed.
(Reporting By Jibran Ahmad; Writing by Matthew Green; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
Ya Hussein (AS).
TTP, SSP, ASWJ, Al-Qaida, Al-Nusra ….. glorifies of Muavia and Yazid (proudly adopt Muavia and Yazid as their last name) are in action with the complicity of Pakistani military, politicians and political parties who have been consistently refusing any action against them. Why? Because they are strategic assets of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
It’s an open and rather reactive message of US to Russia via Jundallah on giving a safe passage to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, stance on Syria and an arrest of Ryan Fogle (CIA chief in Russia worked as third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow) which was obvious big blow…
Again, we are missing something quite vital here…
– initial identification of ‘Russian(s)’ among the tourists was made by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister who has been briefed from ISI upfront, got that…
– second thing is that it’s almost impossible to reach such dangerous height without special equipments and instruments, so the terrorists were assisted by ???
– and then suddenly a new terrorist ring “Junood ul-Hifsa” (most probably another illicit child of ISI) claimed the responsibility but was bit late as “Jundullah” (known terrorist ring created and directed by US/Israel, funded by Salafis/Takfiris/Wahabis and harbored by ISI of Pakistan against Iran) did claim it earlier
… and I believe that it is quite true that Jundullah is the real culprit behind this massacre of foreign tourists with direct support of ISI…
On June 23rd some 15-20 men dressed in the uniforms of the Gilgit Scouts climbed up to the base camp at the foot of the Diamir face of Nanga Parbat. There, at the height of 13000 feet above sea level, they pulled climbers, guides, porters and cooks out of their tents, smashed their phones, laptops and solar panels and put them in two groups. The locals were in one group, the foreigners were lined up on the other side. Then they shot all the foreign climbers in the back of the head. Since exit wounds are bigger than entry wounds and exit wounds were in the face, some of the foreigners are said to be hard to recognize. Looking at ID cards, they also shot a local cook whose name was Ali Hassan. If they had asked him, he might have told them that he was a Sunni, just happened to have a “Shia-sounding” name. But unfortunately the resistance-fighters (thank you Tariq Ali) didnt bother to ask. Another local who told this story to a friend survived because his name is Sher Khan. He is Ismaili. Luckily for him, they just looked at ID cards. He survived because his name doesnt sound Shia.
It takes a dayto climb to the base camp. The area is fairly remote. Adventurous tourists and climbers do go there, but its still the kind of place where everyone knows who has just passed by and why. Yet 15-20 killers made the climb, carried out a massacre and disappeared. And have not been seen since.
Its not THAT remote thought. The valleys to the west are the region of Kohistan. Its a Sunni majority region that abuts the significant Shia and Ismaili population of Gilgit-Baltistan. In the 1980s General Zia, perhaps not fully confident of the Jihad bonafides of the Shias, had the Kohistanis massacre some local Shias and started a sectarian feud that is still ongoing.
A couple of years ago there was a massacre of Shia passengers travelling to Gilgit through the nearby town of Chilas.
Note that passengers are being identified by the scars on their back. The people who are carrying out the massacre are NOT masked. The whole affair is happening on the main highway. It went on for a long time. But nobody came to stop them. Nobody has been arrested or punished. So violence is not new to this region. But previously only locals were being killed, now the terrorists have struck a more prominent target.
This “message” will probably wreck the remaining high-end tourism (aka serious climbing) in this part of the Himalayas (climbers may still come to K-2 because that region is more remote, has more military presence and is not so close to where the Jihad has its Kohistani node). Even this destruction of tourism potential may have a sectarian dimension. Some people have said that the Takfiri terrrorists and their supporters are NOT the main beneficiaries of the millions spent by foreign climbers in the region; the more educated shia/Ismaili entrepreneurs of Gilgit-Baltistan dominate the high-end trade. I am not sure how true this is…and someone with better local knowledge can enlighten us about the religious loyalties of the porters, cooks and guides who will now lose their livelihood in addition to the Gilgit tour operators and climbing expedition companies?
The massacre has certainly struck a chord among Westernized upper-middle class Pakistanis, especially those with links to the army and bureaucracy. The majestic mountains of Northern Pakistan are not the original homeland of our (predominantly) Punjabi elite, but thanks to the accidents of history, they are now “OUR mountains” and we are VERY proud of them. Even as things fell apart elsewhere, we were still home to some of the most beautiful valleys and imposing mountains in the world. And professional climbers still came from all over the world to pit themselves against K-2 and Nanga Parbat and the dozens of other peaks in that region. Shias being pulled off buses in Chilas (just miles from the site of this current outrage) never really hurt the way THIS is hurting. So I dont doubt that a good section of the Pakistani elite and the majority of young officers in the region are determined to bring these killers to book. But I do doubt that they will get too far. Strategic depth has come home and its not easy to change that. The killers have just vanished off the face of the earth because they have local support (many of them may be locals themselves). And that local support connects with the wider jihadi network. And that network is connected to the “good taliban” and the “good jihadis”: the kind who were supposed to get us Kashmir and Afghanistan. The dream may be a bit faded by now, but it still has power.
More to the point, the dual administrative control of “sensitive areas” (Balochistan, FATA, Kohistan, Northern areas etc) has worked its magic. Its not just that the state may not want to do all it can. By now, the state doesnt really know HOW to do it. The local police lack capacity, lack will and most of all, lack authority. Behind the scenes, the force commander northern areas (FCNA), the army and its various agencies run things. So everybody defers to them. But their workings are opaque. Their own bosses may not know what their lower level people are up to. And they can always blame the police. The police can always claim “we dont have a free hand”. Nobody is responsible in the end. In any third world country (OK, for poco-pomo types, I will accept that the words “third world” can be deleted; “world” will do) there is a nexus between criminals and the local administration and then there is the usual South Asian incompetence and corruption. But what happens when there are MANY local administrations and no clear lines of authority or responsibility?
Well, this happens.
(From a friend who knows the region well): I interviewd sher khan today, a survivor of nanga parbat and close relative of nazir sabir. Here is summary..they had been camped at north west face of nanga parbat for a month….on that night…just past midnight they came shouting “taliban, alqaida, surrender”…they were masked, in tactical wests and shoes and had head lamps….they searched all tents …smashed satellite fones, solar panels and laptops….gathered all at one place….sagregated pakistanis……made video of every foreigner asking his name and country….were speaking pashtu, urdu in pashtu accent and a few words of shina….after video they ordered the foreigners to make a line and turn, ….then with a loud thunder of allah o akbar, that echoed from far away due to few of them .in outer cardon as well, 9-10 people opened fire and then leader shot every body at back of head to ensure that faces are mutilated beyond recognition due to exit wound….they gave lecture to pakistani survivors about supermacy of kitaal and jihaad…..then checked their id cards ….found hassan on one card…..shot him in head and face and left chanting allah o akbar. However, they left sher khan, not knowing he is an ismaaili.
Oh, and the Paknationalist web is alive with conspiracy theories. Leading anchorperson Talat and leading analyist Moeed Pirzada have tweeted and facebooked about the need to be bold and blame India. Friends and family in the army are convinced that the Hinjews have struck another blow against Pakistan, Pak-China friendship and other strategic levers of Pakistan. Why the finest intelligence agency in the world cannot stop these conspiracies is not explained. Incompetent or complicit? there is no third option.
That there is no third option is what drives Paknationalists crazy. Do we admit we are incompetent? or do we think we are complicit? Unstoppable force meets immovable object and conspiracy theories erupt from the point of contact.
still, its getting harder and harder to keep up the charade.
Commonly read and watched media mention different stories compared to reported details in LUBP. To whom one should believe?